Dad Tip #22 Make sure all stuffed animals are not male

Picture of a stuffed animal bear
Is this Mr. or Ms. Bear? Does it matter?

My wife noticed that I had a habit of calling my daughter’s stuffed animals names like Mr. Bear, Mr. Bunny or Mr. Lamb, even though these animals weren’t specifically male. It was almost like I was expecting an animal to have have a particular color or “look” before I considered it to be female. Try to be aware of how you refer to your child’s toys so they can be accustomed to having friends from all walks of life.

Dad Tip #21 – Go to library story time

Story time is almost often the most peaceful time of my week. You sit there with your kid bouncing on your knee while everyone sings wheels on the bus, the itsy bitsy spider, and the librarian reads a few books aloud. It’s a great way to get your child out of the house and it’s for me, it’s oddly relaxing. From my experience, the kids are smiling, fully engaged and the babies rarely seem to cry or fuss. At the conclusion of story time, they usually bring out a box of toys. The good libraries clean and wipe down the baby toys, but I still recommend using a baby wipe to wipe down your child’s hands before and after each session. Keep an eye out for the monthly event calendar as many of the libraries have family programming or story hour sessions during flexible times, including after work.

Father and daughter at the library during story time.
Learn, play and have fun during story time

Dad Tip #20 Keep an eye out for family restrooms

Image of bathroom signs

Family restrooms are generally ubiquitous in libraries, airports and many public spaces, but they can be hard to spot if you’ve spent your life ignoring them. Going into a family restroom allows you privacy and quiet while you change your baby at your own pace. Remember, even though it says family restroom, you can still enter if it’s just you and the child. The reason this is important is that since men’s restrooms often have changing pads, you might never think about using the family restroom. Family restrooms generally are less noisy and let’s just say… they have a more pleasant smell than a large public restroom. Additionally, family restrooms often have a seat that you can strap your toddler into if you really need to go yourself and have no other option.

Unconscious Bias Check: Look at the image above. Do you notice something off about the sign with the changing pad? Do you notice that it is showing the image of (only) a mother changing the child. I’ve changed my daughter dozens of times when I am outside of the house and I felt a major anxiety about it because it just seems like something men normally don’t do.

While this tip might seem obvious, I want you to think about it. If you are alone with your child and they need to be changed, which sign would you choose? With so much going on, how quickly would you process that the picture of a woman in a skirt changing her child is also a place that you can go to. While many family restroom signs feature a man, woman a child, sometimes you have to fight through those moments where the world simply forgets that you’re capable. I hope you remember this tip and that you have a great traveling experience with your child.
– Guy

Tip #18 – If you’re going somewhere, plan for one hour before you leave the house

Time goes by quickly with a new baby in the house.

When the family is preparing to head out and you are scrambling to grab the right toys, put the baby in the car seat/stroller, find the blanket, wipe up the unexpected spit up, it’s easy to lose track of time. In order to arrive at your destination at a reasonable time, plan for an hour of prep time before you leave.

July Parenting News Recap:

Article: Dads now spend 3 times as much time with their kids than previous generations

https://www.mother.ly/news/millennial-dads-spend-more-time-with-their-kids

For some people, bashing millennial’s has become a running joke. It’s really popular to call us lazy and unmotivated and to say that we’re afraid of hard work. To those, I point out this article and say that so many of the people in this generation are committed, dedicated and caring. “Back in 1982, a whopping 43% of fathers admitted they’d never changed a diaper. Today, that number is down to about 3%”

The title of this article speaks for itself. This new generation of dads may not be perfect, but in many ways, we rock.

Baby Food Has Too Much Sugar And Is Marketed Wrongly, WHO Says

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-15/baby-food-has-too-much-sugar-and-is-marketed-wrongly-who-says

My wife and I often make our own baby food using fresh fruits and vegetables in a baby cook, but we still rely on purchasing baby food from the grocery store. It’s critical that parents have truth in advertising and it’s sad to see that according to a new World Health Organization report, “Baby food often contains too much sugar and is incorrectly advertised as suitable for infants under 6 months of age.” Baby food has been one of the most important things that I’ve worked to research and it’s vital that parents have a healthy option that is not overly reliant on sugar. It can be a challenge to know what to feed a child after the six month mark, but if the community of parents put pressure on the major food companies, they will work to provide better labeling in baby food.

Father tries to grasp how he could have left twins to die in hot car

The reality is that no matter how tired, exhausted, or if you’re running late, always check the back seat. This is one of the most tragic things I could ever imagine, but it’s important that we don’t simply say “that would never happen” and instead, put some onus on ourselves to save these children.

What you can do: Write or contact your congressman and ask them to support The Hot Cars Act of 2019. According to this article, this act, “would mandate the installation of technology that at a minimum would remind drivers to check the back seat.”

We have had four straight years of summers with record heat and the data shows that July is the worst month for child hot car deaths. This data shows that the problem is getting worse with rear facing car seats and as “Stress and sleep deprivation can make these memory lapses more common,”. Parents are feeling stressed in raising their children and these mistakes are happening far too often. “Since 1998, about 440 children nationwide have died of heatstroke after being forgotten in cars, generally not because of a lack of love… but because of how human memory functions.”

We must address this issue because there are 440 kids who should be smiling, learning to walk, playing catch with their parents, learning algebra, volunteering their time, writing a college essay graduating from college or entering the workforce. One child is too many, but 440 is something that MUST allow us to have a broader conversation. The memories of these kids can save lives in the future. We must act now to prevent the next hot car death.

New Dad Tip #17 – Never leave your child unattended on an elevated surface (even for a moment) –

If you find yourself saying “I’m just picking up something off the floor,” or “It’s OK, he doesn’t know how to roll,” or “I have her strapped in the car seat, I’ll just put her over here while I wash my hands”, please keep in mind that babies are constantly learning and making new movements. If you need to put the baby down, make sure it’s safely in a crib, pack & play, or on a low, steady and flat surface.   

It only takes a moment for a fall, bump or bruise.

Tip #16 When you read to your child, make them a part of the story.

Children’s books feature imaginative adventures with a variety of characters. When reading to your child, ask them what they see and if they know what the main character is going to do next. Say your child’s name early and often and feel free to add words about heroes or royalty or their favorite animal or toy. Hearing their name peaks their interest in the book and teaches them to respond to your voice. 

Tip 14: Invite a friend or family member to come along on your next vacation:

If you plan to rent a house for a long weekend or take a trip to the beach, consider treating a friend or family member who would like to get away for a few days. Your guest should be familiar with your baby, and can go with the flow when it comes to helping out. Friendly help can also give new mom and dad a chance to take a dinner out.

Photo by Deanna Ritchie on Unsplash

Dad Tip #13 – Lay out your baby’s outfit the night before

You’ve got it new dad! You’ve picked out the perfect outfit, carefully moved your child’s arms through the sleeves (in the midst of major arm flailing), only to realize the outfit is too small and the buttons at the bottom do not clasp. This can be a stressful moment if you are headed to an appointment or to meet family and friends. Now you have to look for another outfit, only to discover that the matching bottoms are nowhere to be found.

Babies grow super fast and their clothing is always getting messy and rotating in and out of the laundry bin. It can be a challenge to hold your child in one arm and find a perfectly matching outfit with the other, especially if you are in a time crunch.

If you are expecting to leave the house, always plan your child’s outfit in advance and lay out two options in a specific location to save you time and stress prior to your departure. 





Tip #12 After 3 months, remove or hide all baby items from the living room (if possible):

At least one place should be “baby free”.

Part of the reason that so many new parents feel like the entirety of their life is taken over by Baby is because walking into your house can resemble a baby warzone. When a “minefield” of bibs, Boppy pillows, toys, spare diapers and baby clothes are piled on the sofa and coffee table and scattered on the floor. This can impact your mood. With a new baby, space is certainly at a premium, but parents need to use the living room as an area for entertaining friends, or a space to chill out after baby is put to bed. Home furnishing stores can offer ideas and smart options to de-clutter the house. As an example, ottomans with storage to quick-hide all baby items when guest arrive unexpectedly. This does not mean the living room is off limits for books or stuffed animals, it simply means that the items should be put away when playtime is over, or baby is napping.